This has been a long winter with a late start to spring, and we are very happy to finally see the snow melting! Regardless, we’ve still enjoyed ourselves and our community, and our house has performed perfectly (we stayed snug and warm). Tim has had plenty of work in his town position as a Lister, and besides music, and school volunteering, Susan taught a cake decorating class for Cabin Fever University.
We had plenty of snow, so our snow blower (and our shovels) got used a lot. In mid-February, with around 1 1/2 feet of snow cover on the ground, we had a bunch of trees removed — some dying hemlocks and some trees that were going to interfere with the solar array we’ll put up this spring. The loggers used chainsaws and also orange wedges (see in photo) to make the trees fall precisely where they wanted, and were able to drag the logs up to the “landing” to be taken away later this spring.
Around this time Tim got started with sugaring! The smoke etc. in the photo above is from the “arch” where Tim was cooking down the first collection of sap. He tapped 9 trees (the row of maples we see from our south window), and quit after he’d made nearly 4 gallons of great syrup, even though the sap was still running! It takes around 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Below left is one of the taps; we collected sap in gallon jugs, and emptied them into a 5 gallon bucket until there was enough for a boil. The “arch” is the fireplace set-up for boiling sap — Tim made one with cinder blocks, stove pipe, and a second-hand boiling pan (about 18×42 inches). He had to feed the fire about every 20 minutes for about 8 hours to keep the sap boiling. He did 5 boils between mid February and early April, and finished off each batch on the kitchen stove, to get it to the correct sugar content, and then canned it. Looks pretty good!
In February we had perfect snow for a snow man while my grand nephew was visiting (on spring break from Syracuse U)! And then we had another 14 inches of snow, some melting, and mud, and more snow, etc. The house photo was taken March 30, with the “board walk” to avoid some of the mud.
In April (still snow on the ground!) the roofers came and put the standing seam roof on the 3-season porch — amazing — all done in less than 2 hours!
And then we had MORE snow! April 12 (on the left.) With some slightly warmer weather we were happy to see a lot of it melted by April 21 (on the right).
Preparations for installation of our solar array (to be put up sometime later this spring) included marking out the position along the north side of the driveway and delivery of the posts:
The last few days we’ve had sun and temperatures in the high 50’s (felt warmer in the sun), and then a day of gentle rain! As of today the snow is almost all gone (except we still have the big piles next to the front porch). We have started our vegetable seedlings, and a couple of days ago cleaned up the garden and planted peas and spinach! And with the snow gone, here is next year’s firewood…
So, spring is finally on its way, although an old-timer told me the other day that a number of years ago they had 11 inches of snow on Mother’s Day! But that is not stopping us from enjoying the first green shoots, and the first colts foot blossoms, and the bright red new leaves on the rhubarb plants.